In-app Bidding, Monetization

The Future of Bidding is Now

Yuki Manno
Mar 26, 2024

The mobile app industry has shown a solid resilience and upward growth trajectory that we expect to accelerate in 2024 as users increasingly spend more time in-app, creating new opportunities for advertisers to connect with them. The market is forecasted to become a half-a-trillion-dollar industry this year, doubling from 2023. A major underpinning of this growth is the widespread adoption of in-app bidding.

As an early pioneer of bidding, it’s been AppLovin’s mission to host a fair and transparent auction for buyers and drive competition for publishers to continue to grow their business with improved revenue. The adoption of bidding has helped increase CPMs for publishers and has given demand partners access to all impression opportunities as they compete in a fair auction, making the ad buying process more efficient for all parties involved.

AppLovin’s MAX runs the most competitive auctions and leverages a leading number of demand sources, including more than 35 SDK networks with half of them already available as in-app bidders. This year, we expect to see more partners shift to fully adopt bidding and our teams are committed to helping both our publishers and networks transition.

Bidding accelerates industry growth

There has been a strong interest in moving towards SDK bidding for the last couple of years. Top demand partners’ transition to bidding has been an accelerator for the mobile ad ecosystem in the last six months. As more partners continue to invest in better tech – from enhancing creatives to improving their ability to place more competitive bids –  it will drive improved market conditions, better outcomes for publishers, and higher advertiser spending.

Simply put: Tech advancements enable advertisers to improve the scale and precision of their buying, funneling more ad dollars into the ecosystem. Those revenue gains result in higher ARPDAU for publishers, enabling them to reinvest more money into advanced UA strategies to attract higher-quality users, which leads to improved user retention and more hits for app developers. The overall pie continues to grow and everyone benefits.

Supporting our network partners

All 35 partners on MAX are actively moving towards bidding – whether in alpha testing, open beta, or fully transitioning to bidding with the deprecation of their traditional connection to MAX. While the standardized oRTB specifications and transparent auction dynamics make the transition fairly straightforward for all partners, it’s not a quick process. Time and resource investment are both critical and essential to that process.

Buyers understanding this technical and operational shift to learn how to win in this environment are the ones who were able to make the switch and thrive.

We are focused on guiding our demand partners through this change. We aim to educate them on key technical health metrics and exceed benchmarks to achieve the best possible outcomes for their business and publishers. Supporting each partner through this transition underscores our commitment to advancing the ecosystem and ensuring a seamless adoption of bidding.

Supporting our publishers

Many of our publishers are in various states of scaling bidding in their monetization stack, from improving auction competitiveness with the addition of new bidders to expanding bidding across multiple ad formats. These efforts will only increase as we welcome more network bidders and our existing partners complete their transition. MAX provides powerful developer tools, A/B testing, and comprehensive reporting to support full bidding adoption.

Over time, this improves overall revenue and frees up valuable time for monetization teams, allowing them to adopt a more product-focused mindset that supports overall app development and growth. 

Looking ahead

We are thrilled to be a part of this next phase of ad monetization, where advertiser scale drives publisher growth and vice versa, creating a mutually beneficial growth cycle for the entire industry. In the coming months, we’ll announce the availability of more SDK bidders for general adoption, as well as all-new demand partners that will increase auction density and yield for publishers. In addition, we’ll share best practices to scale the adoption and success of bidding on MAX. 

Get started with MAX now, or reach out to your account representative for more information.

Yuki Manno is a Sr. Director of Product at AppLovin

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